James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to John Mason, 29 April 1806 (Abstract)

To John Mason, 29 April 1806 (Abstract)

§ To John Mason. 29 April 1806, Department of State. “The President of the United States, being desirous of availing the Public of your Services, as Commissioner ‘for laying out and making a road from Cumberland in the State of Maryland to the State of Ohio,’ I have the honor to enclose your Commission.”1

RC (MBBS). 1 p.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by JM. Enclosure not found.

1On the same day JM wrote a similar letter to Thomas Moore (NNPM; 1 p.). For the 29 Mar. 1806 “Act to regulate the laying out and making a road from Cumberland, in the state of Maryland, to the state of Ohio,” see U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:357–59. Mason resigned on 7 July 1806, and on 31 Jan. 1807 Jefferson reported to Congress that he had appointed Thomas Moore and Elie Williams of Maryland and Joseph Kerr of Ohio commissioners for laying out the Cumberland Road. Moore (ca. 1759–1822) was a civil engineer and inventor who had a farm in Montgomery County, Maryland. From 1818 to 1822 he was the principal engineer at the Virginia Board of Public Works. Joseph Kerr (1765–1837) was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Ohio in 1792, where he served in several public capacities and became a leading businessman engaged in an extensive produce export business through New Orleans as well as a number of other local enterprises. He was a brigadier general of the Ohio Volunteers during the War of 1812 and served as U.S. senator from Ohio during the third session of the Thirteenth Congress. Afterwards, he operated an inn in Chillicothe; eventually declaring bankruptcy, he moved to Tennessee in 1826 and then to Louisiana, where he owned a plantation until his death. Commission head and Revolutionary War veteran Elie Williams (1750–1822) also served during the Whiskey Rebellion. He figured prominently in public works in the United States (Looney et al., Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series description begins J. Jefferson Looney et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series (12 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 2004–). description ends , 1:173 n.; Journal of the U.S. House of Representatives, 9th Cong., 2nd sess., 5:561–62; Billy Joe Peyton, “Surveying and Building the Road,” in The National Road, ed. Karl B. Raitz [Baltimore, 1996], 127–28).

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